Hollywood is no stranger to war propaganda but the U.S. Establishment saw no need to wait for an actual war before sending Morgan Freeman out to tell Americans that they “have been attacked” and are “at war” with Russia–whose sin has been an “attack” on the U.S. petrodollar.
On Tuesday, Russian President Vladimir Putin dealt another blow to the flagging petrodollar system – a crucial component of U.S. economic “superiority” that creates artificial demand for the U.S. dollar by pricing oil and other goods on the international market in that currency. Putin instructed the Russian government to approve legislation that would make the Russian ruble the main currency of exchange at all Russian ports by the end of 2017. The dollar had been used for some time as the currency of choice at Russian seaports due to fluctuations in the ruble.
The announcement came only a few weeks after Putin’s much more overt move against the dollar earlier this month at the recent BRICS summit hosted in China. There, Putin announced that Russia was “ready to work together with our partners to promote international financial regulation reforms and to overcome the excessive domination of the limited number of reserve currencies.”
The statement was widely interpreted as a call to other BRICS nations to bypass the dollar. At the same conference, Russia had been supportive of China’s announcement that it would launch a crude-oil futures contract priced in the Chinese yuan and convertible into gold – a considerable threat to the petrodollar’s dominance.
Another factor is Russia’s gold-buying “binge” in recent years, which has allowed the nation to amass more gold reserves than most other nations. Russia’s current gold reserves are sizable enough to back 27% of the narrow ruble money supply. In contrast, only 2.3% of the narrow U.S. dollar money supply is backed by gold.
From petrodollars to propaganda
Not to be outdone by Russia’s decision to act within its own sovereign interests at the petrodollar’s expense, the U.S. “Russiagate” propaganda machine was ready to respond in kind with the latest revival of the Russian hacking/meddling narrative, emerging in the form of a new organization known as the “Committee to Investigate Russia” (CIR).
The group surfaced on Tuesday — the same day as Putin’s announcement — with a widely promoted video in which Oscar-winning actor Morgan Freeman tells the American public that “We have been attacked. We are at war,” and asks Trump to “tell us the truth” about Russian election interference, ignoring that narrative’s reliance on debunked and discredited claims.
The video has all the marking of a psy-op. One of the founders of the CIR, Hollywood director and diehard Clinton supporter Rob Reiner, told the Daily Beast that Freeman was selected as the group’s spokesman for the “weight and gravitas” of his voice as well as the fact that “people always joke that he’s the voice of God,” given Freeman’s past film roles, which also include President of the United States.
In addition, the video’s imagery and content convey a fawning patriotism. It refers to the U.S. political system as “a shining example” for other nations “of what we can all aspire to” — even though academics have defined the U.S. as an oligarchy, not a democracy. The video also implies that Russia is “attacking democracies around the world,” a job most often performed by the United States, and that Putin is behind it all in his all-consuming lust for “power” and “revenge” — a simplistic and childish claim that lacks any real comprehension of post-Soviet Union relations between the U.S. and Russia.
This characterization of the situation is hardly surprising given the CIR’s other co-founders. These include former Director of National Intelligence James Clapper and David Frum.
The memorandum was drafted by analysts “hand-picked” by the notoriously anti-Russian racist Clapper, who has committed perjury on more than one occasion and is also known for lamenting the genetic inferiority of Russians on live TV. He is also responsible for the now infamous memorandum in which the intelligence community “officially” blamed Russia for interfering in last year’s election — though the report was later found to have been drafted by analysts Clapper “hand-picked” for the job and did not represent the conclusions of the U.S. intelligence community as a whole.
Frum, on the other hand, is a notorious neoconservative and former George W. Bush speechwriter responsible for the infamous “Axis of Evil” State of the Union address. Both figures are known for their thirst for war and stoking of anti-Russian sentiment.
Another CIR co-founder is Max Boot, a signatory of the neoconservative Project for a New American Century (PNAC), who once called for the U.S. “unambiguously to embrace its imperial role.” Clearly, the CIR is hardly an impartial actor looking for truthful answers to pressing political questions.
Watch | Morgan Freeman tells Americans on behalf of the CIR that “We are at war”
The narrative that the Russian government interfered with the 2016 U.S. presidential election has been discredited on numerous occasions — by award-winning journalists, computer analysts, and U.S. intelligence community insiders, among others. However, the corporate media hasn’t caught on and still continues to baselessly assert that the Russian government, and Russian President Vladimir Putin, were the real forces behind Donald Trump’s electoral victory last November.
Even after several embarrassing corrections and “fake news” conundrums from “prestigious” media outlets including the Associated Press and The New York Times, they continue to promote a largely debunked intelligence memorandum released in January. Yet, over the past year or so, the true motivators behind the great surges in media-driven anti-Russian sentiment have proven themselves to largely be geopolitical or economic, not based on actual evidence of Russian-led interference. This case is, again, no different.
Perhaps the phrase spoken by Freeman — “we are at war” — was not entirely dishonest. The U.S. establishment, with neocons at the helm and aided by Hollywood and the corporate media, is eager to further demonize Russia within the United States in order to ease the way for its engagement in economic warfare and trade wars — all to protect American hegemony and its cornerstone, the petrodollar.
Top photo | Street art in Warsaw, Poland depicting Russian President Vladimir Putin. (Photo: Alberto Cabello/Flickr CC)